Can you see that? (I'm working on the picture-taking with my phone...be patient with me, please.) It's the sign that greeted us when we got to Texas. I took a photo to capture the moment, unaware of how prolific it would prove to be. "The Texas Way" isn't just some catchphrase a marketing person came up with for the Texas Tourism Commission. (That catchphrase is actually "It's Like a Whole Other Country," which is truer than you know and will be the theme of all upcoming posts...but I'm getting ahead of myself.) Anyway, there really is a Texas Way and I'm starting to get it.
But first things first. I quit posting after we moved here for a number of reasons, one of which being that I assumed there would be nothing interesting to talk about - after all, the impetus of this blog was to share with my American friends and family the details of how I was getting acclimated to living in a foreign country... to share all the idiosyncrasies unique to life in a foreign culture. (Are you seeing where I'm going with this yet????) Well, after some time on the ground I've discovered that I need to tell you about this country as well.
As I mentioned already, Texas IS a whole other country. Shamelessly, Texans will admit to that. If the United States was a high school, there would be cliques for each region (Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest and Midwest) and then there would be Texas. He's the guy who refused to join a clique, who wouldn't wear the required shirt in PE, and who would tell you to go to hell if you asked him why he won't comply with the same rules as everyone else. But just like you see at a high school reunion when the outsider ends up being the most successful person there, Texas enjoys a comparatively lower unemployment rate and high job growth...so maybe there's something to be said for doing it the Texas Way.
Don't worry...I'm not going to discuss Texas economics in this blog. I think we all know that's way more substance than the things about which I typically write. But I will tell you things that you'd never know without someone here on the ground with keen insight, an inquisitive nature, and awesome picture-taking skills (as long as it's not on my phone.) And since all of my readers have historically been in places like St. Louis, Portland, Chicago and Harrisburg, I'm the only way you'll know the truth about this place.
The one thing I will say straight away is that your impressions are wrong - and that's not to say mine weren't. For example, there are music stations here that aren't country. Now I'm not ready to say that I like country music; however, thanks to a friend who continually shows me the light, I'm no longer describing it with terms like "ear rupturing" and "heinous." http://www.reneespassport.blogspot.com/2009/06/i-just-realized-what-it-is-that-i-didnt.html
If one of your assumptions is that everyone drives a truck and has a gun rack, you'd only be half right. I've seen very few gun racks, but there are an excessive amount of trucks here...and you aren't necessarily going to see a cowboy step out of it. There's no demographic for who drives a truck - it can be a dude in boots or a woman in sandals; a guy in a suit or fresh off the tractor. Apparently trucks here are not just for function (and they are much easier to drive than you'd think.)
And the last thing I'll say for now regarding what you've heard about Texas? Everything IS bigger here. Trust me.
So stay tuned for more...like the scoop on the food. It's me, remember? I'm all about the food. Some of you have known me my entire life and know that I've never changed who I am - not even Texas can do that to me. So make sure you don't come to read this when you are hungry, because after I fill you in, you'll be bummed that your next meal isn't here.